Monday, November 19, 2012

Welcome to Israel's most advanced scanning electron microscope.


Inaugurating the innovative microscope. From right to left: Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Prof. Dan Shechtman, Technion Executive Vice President for Research Prof. Oded Shmueli,  and Prof. Wayne D. Kaplan. Photo: Yoav Becher, Technion Spokesman



The Technion has bought the most advanced scanning electron microscope in Israel, at a cost of 1.3 million dollars.  This is a substantial contribution to the learning process at all levels, and that the microscope will serve all researchers in Israel, as well as the high-tech industry, says Dean of the Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering, Prof. Wayne D. Kaplan

The microscope has sophisticated detectors that not only provide extremely high resolution, but also provide direct information about the material composition and local defects. It has a heating system with temperatures of up to 1100 degrees Celsius, which allows researchers to carry out manufacturing processes in-situ in the microscope, and to directly characterize changes to a material during a specific manufacturing process. Thus, for example, one can directly see solidification of a molten alloy inside the microscope, or track the mechanism by which thin films break-up or agglomerate into individual particles during thermal treatments.

"With this innovative microscope, we can follow the process and discover how to prevent agglomeration, or utilize it", emphasizes Prof. Kaplan. "Thus we developed, together with Prof. Gadi Eisenstein of the Department of Electrical Engineering, new flash memories with a stability and working range that are not currently available, and that are based on tiny platinum particles 4-5 nanometers in size. We produced these particles at the desired size and form, by following the agglomeration process of a continuous layer inside the microscope. This provides us with engineering criteria that we have not had to date".

Dr. Alex Berner and Michael Kalina are responsible for the operation of the advanced microscope, which is part of the Technion's advanced Electron Microscopy Center, and for related training.

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